Municipalities Moving Away from Marijuana Testing for Employees

New York City, NY: Municipal officials in various cities nationwide are moving away from policies requiring marijuana testing for public employees.

In the city of Rochester, council members recently approved municipal legislation barring pre-employment marijuana testing for non-safety sensitive city employees. The new law took effect immediately upon passage.

Members of the city council for Richmond, Virginia also recently passed a resolution excluding non-safety sensitive employees and job applicants from marijuana testing.

Earlier this month, municipal legislation took effect in New York City making it unlawful “for an employer, labor organization, employment agency, or agent thereof to require a prospective employee to submit to testing for the presence of any tetrahydrocannabinols or marijuana in such prospective employee’s system as a condition of employment.” Exceptions to the new law include those employees seeking certain safety sensitive positions – such as police officers or commercial drivers – or those positions regulated by federal drug testing guidelines.

Washington, DC Mayor Mariel Bowser signed a similar order last fall limiting the ability of District employees or applicants to be drug tested for the presence of cannabis

Both Maine and Nevada have enacted state-specific legislation barring certain employers from refusing to hire a worker because he or she tested positive for cannabis on a pre-employment drug screen.

Additional information regarding marijuana and workplace drug testing is available from the NORML fact-sheet, “Marijuana Legalization and Impact on the Workplace.”